The top reasons why a Riad is better than a hotel

The top reasons why a Riad is better than a hotel

The popularity of the riads is definitely on the rise. This can be mainly thanked all those influencers who get to post on Instagram about all the chic riads they get to stay at when they travel to Morocco. And just like it’s a duty, each influencer has to visit Morocco at least once every year, especially this time of the year, around wintertime.

When I started this blog, the concept of a Riad was definitely lesser known than it is today. Yet I’m pretty sure, there are still many people out there, who would be very glad to learn more about them.
This is exactly what inspired me to give you all the best reasons, why staying at a riad is so much better than staying at a hotel. The post is particularly triggered for all those, who find it hard to move out of their comfort zone and those who firmly believe in staying in the hotels of particular hotel chains ( luxury hotels).

Beautiful Riad interior with a small swimming pool

What is Riad?
Referencing my earlier post about Riads, you can get to read by clicking here, where I meticulously cover all the important facts about Riads I would like to briefly introduce you to the concept of Riad, which is a unique concept you can generally only find in Morocco.
The concept of the Riad is extremely similar to that one of an Inn ( a contemporary guest house) which is particularly popular in the UK, Germany, and Austria ( Gasthaus). It means that you get in a family-like environment and get to live at a place, where you basically become part of a family during your stay. Riads are renovated, upgraded homes where families used to live. They generally don’t have more than 10 guest rooms. It’s also normal for each room to have a somewhat different theme. Riads are Arabic style homes. This means they are almost completely closed to the outer world but they have a lovely intimate inside yard that generally contains a lovely garden and a swimming pool ( or a pond or a fountain depending on the size and the place) and this is where all the larger windows and all the room doors open. Riads and Dars are similar, the key difference is in the size. Dars are smaller than Riads. But most places call themselves Riad anyways, to make themselves easier to find.
Thanks to the recent boom in sales to foreign investors, these days, you can get to find more Westernized Riads, while on the other hand there are tons of riads, which remain as authentic to the Moroccan culture as possible. The best riads are those, which manage to remain authentic, yet can provide all the luxury and amenities today’s average guests would need.

Marrakech Jamaa El Fna: most of the Riads are close to this lovely square

So, why choose to stay at a Riad instead of a hotel?

Let me give you all the best reasons

A Riad provides the ultimate authentic Moroccan experience
While hotels have their somewhat neutral and even alienating environment, especially those belonging to a larger hotel-chain, Riads are much friendlier. They really give you the experience as if you stayed with a family. While some cities are more suitable for a hotel stay ( Casablanca, Rabat, Tangier for instance) the most historical cities Marrakech and Fez have a great number of fantastic Riads right inside the Medina which is just perfect for stay.

Riads have lovely authentic interiors

Riads are cheaper than hotels
This is an important one. Riads, despite serving both breakfast and lunch or dinner are generally way cheaper than any hotels. They allow for a longer and more comfortable stay. In order for you to understand this, you need to understand that Morocco does not have the same variety of hotel categories as other countries do. This means the majority of hotels are of 4 or 5-star hotels and luxury hotels. With pretty high prices.

It’s by far the best way to taste food as authentic as possible
Riads work with local cooks. And Food is among Morocco’s Nr. 1 attraction for real. Thanks to the lower number of people this allows for preparing food just like home. If you are not so lucky to get the chance to stay with a local family. Then Riad is by far the best way for you to taste all the best Moroccan specialties the way they should be. If you are triggered by the food, check out the reviews about the riads on booking sites and book your accommodation at a riad which is famous for its great locally made meals.

Tajin: Authentic Moroccan Cuisine is the Nr.1 attraction of  Morocco

Riads are friendly and intimate
Riads do not have a large number of employees and in most cases, it’s only a couple of people working there including the manager. This allows people to learn a lot about Morocco, about people, they can help you with getting around, booking a taxi and so much more. I suggest a Riad stay for everyone who is open to friendly conversations.

Riad interior
The best riads come with a beautiful closed yard

It’s the best way of accommodation for single female travelers
If you are a single female traveler, then riad can be a great and safe place for you to stay. As said above, the intimate atmosphere is guaranteed. Riads are as safe as a real safe when it comes to security. In addition, you have a whole house to move around undisturbed. This may sound sketchy, But you ( female travelers) will understand what I mean, once being in Morocco.

Riad interior yard: safe and intimate

Riads have the best location
The majority of the riads are to be found in the very downtown areas, especially in the old downtown areas which are the most picturesque parts of such beautiful and historical cities as Marrakech or Fez. So, as soon as you step out of the door, you will find yourself in the crowd or merchants, visitors and tourists. On top of it all, most of the riads offer a picturesque view from their rooftops.

Riad rooftop view

Riads are as easy to book online as any hotel through a good international booking site.
Luckily, riads are all available to book nowadays either directly or from one of the largest booking platforms. I personally like and I also happened to book my Riad stay on I will definitely create a post which contains my best choices of Riads in Marrakech and Fez alike.

Riads (those managed by Westerners) may have friendlier rules when it comes to accommodating couples who are not married.
This is very important! While it’s constantly being overlooked. Hotels and accommodations in Islamic countries would not accept unmarried couples to stay in one room. You would, therefore, need to present a marriage certificate proving your married status to be able to stay in one room. Western riads do not have these rules generally. But always confirm with them before you get there. Because it may lead to a weird situation.

Last but not least: Riads are just the PERFECT photo spots/ Insta spots

Riad Yasmine: thanks to its signature pool it's the perfect photo spot for fashion shoots and Instagram photos

In fact, they are photo spots where you can also show off your swimsuit or other Western-style dresses which are not normally accepted or worn out on the streets. Riads serve as the best spots for photoshoots by international fashion magazines for this reason too. 

I am in the process of updating this blog with lots of new content. Please keep on following, like and share if you like my post. I also welcome comments and questions.